Sony announced the first Blu-ray megachanger back in 2007, and now, two years later, the company is following up on the effort. The BDP-CX960 ($800, coming in the fall) and BDP-CX7000ES ($2,000, coming in August) both hold 400 Blu-ray Discs and use Gracenote's VideoID and MusicID service to automatically retrieve disc data over an Ethernet connection. That's big news, as our biggest complaint with Sony's older DVD megachanger was how tedious it was to manually enter program data.
The entry-level BDP-CX960 comes equipped with all the features that are now standard on Blu-ray players, including Profile 2.0 compatibility and onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.
The step-up BDP-CX7000ES adds 7.1 analog outputs, an RS-232 port, better build quality, IR inputs and outputs, plus Sony is claiming superior video performance, thanks to technology like the Sony's HD Reality Enhancer. In Sony's words, the HD Reality Enhancer "continually analyzes the original source bit by bit, sharpening edges and reproducing detail, while reducing the effects of film grain." That sounds similar to Toshiba's XDE processing, which were weren't exactly fans of. The BDP-CX7000ES's upgrades don't seem nearly significant enough to justify the $1,200 price increase, but this model is clearly aimed at the "price is no object" crowd that will be taking advantage of the custom installer options.
Both players will use Sony's XMB interface to handle navigating the giant media libraries. We're definitely fans of the XMB interface on the PS3 and AV receivers, but we're interested to see how Sony has adapted it to handle media libraries.
While it's true that most buyers won't have 400 Blu-ray Discs in their collections, the idea of a megachanger than can consolidate all your discs (Blu-rays, DVDs and CDs) still has some merit. On the other hand, we're surprised that neither player has integrated Wi-Fi or any streaming-video capabilities, which are available on considerably cheaper players like the LG BD390 and Samsung BD-P3600.